The Shelton Land Conservation Trust is a private organization often confused with the Conservation Commission. The Land Trust owns 364 acres of private open space that is open to the public, including several trails and a youth camp.
Trail blazes are rectangles of color-coded paint on trees and other objects that mark the trail location. When there are two blazes of the same color, the higher blaze indicates the direction of a turn. Each trail is assigned a blaze color - check your trail map.
STAY TO THE RIGHT.
PASS ON THE LEFT.
Pedestrians: Be aware that bicyclists may come up quickly behind you. Please be alert for bikers and maintain room for them to pass on the left.
Bicyclists: Keep your speed down and let pedestrians know you are about to pass.
Dog owners: Please pick up after your pets and make sure your dogs do not run out at other users (use a short leash).
Parents: Make sure your children keep to the right and pass on the left. Children running out in front of bikes is a common source of bicycle accidents.
Take only pictures, leave only footprints.
Be respectful of neighboring residents. Keep your voices down, dogs on leash, and don't ask neighbors for directions (ask another trail user instead and go prepared with a map).
Neighbors: Please do not allow dogs to bark at trail users, and keep music down.
Do not pick flowers - leave them for others to enjoy.
Keep your voices down (including cell phone calls). Voices carry especially far on the shores of the reservoirs.
Respect fishermen along the reservoirs: keep your voices down and maintain a polite distance between you and the fishermen.
Please pick up litter where you find it.
Technically, hikers have the right of way over mountain bikers. However, it is much easier for a hiker to step out of the way and allow a biker to pass.
Blue-Blazed trails often cross private property with only a precarious hand-shake agreement between CFPA and the property owner. The rules and etiquette are therefore very strict:
No bikes or horses on the blue trails (and certainly no ATVs).
Do not stray from the trail unless you are sure you are in a public park and not on private property.
No geocaches or letterboxes on private lands along the trail unless you have permission from the property owner.
Be especially respectful when hiking near private residences. Keep your voices down and dogs on leash.
Be aware that you may pass through areas open to hunting and dress in bright colors during hunting season.
Please pick up any litter left behind by other hikers.
There are over 15 miles of trails in Shelton, from the handicapped-accessible Shelton Lakes Recreation Path to the challenging Paugussett "Blue Dot" Trail. Before you head out on a trail, be sure you have a map, know how to read trail blazes, and are familiar with trail etiquette (see margin at right). Trails do not have signs. Need driving directions? Our Google trailhead map will get you there.
Trails are created and maintained by volunteers. Visit the Trails Committee's blog to learn about upcoming events, come to work parties, or read the latest trail news.
Located in downtown Shelton at Veteran's Memorial Park (also known as "The Slab") the Riverwalk is often turned into a loop path by using the sidewalk along Canal Street. The Riverwalk itself is currently only 0.30 mile, while the loop is 0.57 mile. The path starts at the intersection of Canal Street and Cornell, across the street from the Farmer's Market. We hope to extend the Riverwalk north to the northern terminus of Canal Street.
The Shelton Lakes Recreation Path ("Rec Path") is a popular multi-use path located in the Shelton Lakes Greenway suitable for bikes, baby strollers, and wheelchairs. The path is 8-12 feet wide with a crushed stone surface and is handicapped accessible. The path was completed in 2012. Click HERE for a map.
The Rec Path northern section begins at Pine Lake (aka
Shelton Reservoir #2) on Shelton Avenue Rt. 108 east
of Meadow Street. There is ample parking.
The path heads west up a long but gradual incline
between the Intermediate School and High School,
crosses Constitution Blvd South, and follows the top
of a long dam built in the 1800's at Silent Waters
(aka Shelton Reservoir #1). The Rec Path then crosses
Shelton Avenue at the signal (Mile 1.25), runs past
the new Dog Park to an overlook of the Hope Lake dam,
and continues for another half mile to Oak Valley
Road, and then parallels Oak Valley Road Extension
After following the powerlines briefly the Rec Path turns back into the forest, crosses Basil Brook, crosses Wesley Drive, and begins a long descent to Huntington Center, crossing Wesley Drive again and skirting the Land Trust Meadow before ending on Lane Street not far from Huntington Street (Mile 4.1). Designated parking in Huntington Center is at the Community Center.
This is the most popular place to hike or go mountain biking in Shelton. Features include three reservoirs, the multi-use Rec Path (see above), miles of hiking trails, the Dog Park, and Eklund Native Species Garden.
If you go hiking, be sure to bring a trail map, since there are eleven miles of trails (color-coded) spread over 450 acres, and unprepared hikers often become turned around. There are waymarkers on 4x4 posts along the trails that are keyed to the map. There are several access points, but perhaps the most popular is the Hope Lake picnicking area on Nells Rock Road.
[TRAIL MAP - pdf] These hiking trails cross one of the most remote areas in Shelton along the steep Housatonic River bluff. April brings a spectacular wildflower display on the lower parts of the trail, and wood ducks have been sighted. Click map to enlarge.
The primary trailhead is on Birchbank Road (aka Indian Well Road), 1.0 mile north of the beach parking turnoff for Indian Well State Park. There is parking where the road crosses the railroad tracks. A second parking area is at the intersection of Okenuck Way and Round Hill Road, located in the "Poet" section of the White Hills.
The white-blazed Birchbank Trail rises 250 feet, steady but not steep (there were significant reroutes in 2010 that made the trail easier to walk). Part of the trail follows old colonial road beds which lead from former settlements on the Housatonic River up through a notch in the river bank to the White Hills area above. Farmers probably used the road to access Housatonic shipping points and bring their product to market. Native Americans also apparently used the notch and there is evidence of quartz arrow manufacturing. The trail also passes an old chimney from the Monroe Rod and Gun, which burned down several decades ago, and a series of cascades along Upper White Hills Brook.
The blue-yellow trail leads to a seasonal overlook of the Housatonic River. The approach from the north is gradual, but the approach from the south, via the blue trail, is quite steep.
[TRAIL MAP (pdf)] This short but highly scenic trail provides river access to fishermen and nature lovers alike. The remains of an old mill dam greet visitors near the trailhead, and the trail follows the shoreline in an area that is covered with raging flood waters about once a year. The trail is level, but footing can be uneven. Access is from Mill Street, at the sign kiosk. Click thumbnail map to enlarge.
[TRAIL MAP (pdf)] These easy loop trails lead to a small pond on the west side of Shelton. Limited parking is along Farmill Street (not Mill Street), across the street from house #98.
Follow the white blazes carefully near the trailhead, since illegal ATV usage has created a maze of unauthorized trails. To find the pond, turn onto the yellow blazed trail and cross Boehm Brook (may be a challenge) and Winthrop Road. Click thumbnail map to enlarge.
Nicholdale is a former dairy farm owned by the Shelton Land Trust and maintained as a series of fields open to the public and maintained for wildlife enhancement. One of the hiking trails leads to a popular youth camp used primarily by Boy Scouts. Although the trails are generally easy, markings are inconsistant. There is a hard-to-find parking lot on the south side of Rt. 110 Leavenworth Avenue east of Nicholdale Road (approximate address is #316 Leavenworth Road).
[TRAIL MAP - pdf] Many people are familiar with Riverview Park in downtown Shelton but do not realize there is a very old hiking trail that begins behind the playground. The trail is benched into the side of the river bluff among huge trees, eventually emerging at the basketball courts. From that point it is a "virtual" trail, going behind the first ball field, through the back of the second ball field, and ending at the stone marker for Fort Hill at the southern end of the park. The trail features a spectacular overlook of the Derby-Shelton Dam at the Boy With Fish statue, a certified Constitution Oak, and the Pootatuck Fort Hill Marker. Click map to enlarge.
***REROUTE NOTICE 2013*** --a 3/4 mile section near Shelton Ave was rerouted in May off of the powerlines.
The Paugussett Trail begins at East Village Road in Monroe, heads east to Lake Zoar, then south to Webb Mountain Park, Birchbank Mountain (Shelton), Indian Well State Park, and a new section that leads to Shelton Lakes. Parts of this trail are challenging, with steep slopes and the occasional rock scramble or boulder climb. Total length is about 14 miles, and camping is allowed at Webb Mountain Park. CT Blue-Blazed hiking trails are generally closed to mountain biking, but bikes are allowed on the trail at Shelton Lakes.
Mileage (approximate) from Buddington Road going
Nells Rock Trail 0.6
Eklund Wildflower Garden 1.3
Hope Lake 1.4
Silent Waters 2.1
Indian Well Falls Parking 4.6
Birchbank Mtn 6.6
Webb Mtn, Monroe 10.6
Cottage St. (near Lake Zoar) 12.3
Barnhill Road, Monroe 14 miles
Map: Please allow a full minute for this Google Paugussett Overview Map to load. Once it's loaded, you can use it to obtain driving directions or use with a smart phone for turn by turn directions. You can also turn on contours or the satellite view. The trail route shown is approximate only, and we recommend that hikers purchase a copy of the CT Walk Book (West Edition), which contains hiking maps and descriptions of the older part of the trail from Indian Well to Monroe, as well as many other Blue-Blazed trails in Connecticut. Your purchase also supports CFPA, the nonprofit organization that maintains all the Blue-Blazed Trails in Connecticut.
Background: The Paugussett Trail was a CCC project during the Great Depression and at one time stretched from Lake Zoar in Monroe all the way to Roosevelt Forest in Stratford. Some time prior to 1971, the trail south of Indian Well State Park was abandoned after it was cut off by new subdivisions, and the north end of the trail absorbed a reminent of the Pomperaug Trail in Monroe.
Paugussett Restoration: In the early 1990s, the Conservation Commission and Open Space Committee began planning for the restoration of the Paugussett Trail south to the town line. A corridor of land was gradually acquired, allowing for the trail to be routed completely on public land. The Shelton Trails Committee constructed the new trail route from Indian Well State Park to Buddington Road in the Shelton Lakes Greenway, which the exception of a section at Mayflower Lane, which is bypassed by walking on the pavement for 1000 feet. The Trails Committee will continue to extend the trail to the Stratford town line if possible.
This loop trail is marked as an official Paugussett "side trail" with a blue blaze and a yellow dot in the center. A short red-blazed trail cuts across the loop to create a figure "8". While much of the trail is fairly easy, some spots are steep and may be slippery with fallen leaves. A short spur leads to a scenic overlook on the nearby Paugussett Trail. The land is owned by the Shelton Land Trust. Access is at the end of Tahmore Place. Click map to enlarge.